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STUDENT'S PRACTICAL GRAMMAR
A COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST BOOK OF
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST:
PRA CTICAL ANALYSIS THEREOF, CRITICAL AND GRAMMATICAL;
“ORDO VERBORUM” OF THE DIFFICULT PASSAGES,
INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS, AND ADAPTED TO MEET
THE WANTS OF SELF-INSTRUCTING STUDENTS.
CHARLES H. LAW, SCHOOL LIBRARY,
131, FLEET STREET.
As a Preface cannot make a bad book, good; so neither can it add anything to the value of a book if intrinsically good. A very few words, therefore, will suffice here for stating the cause which gave birth to the following Work, and the purpose which it embraces.
It must be evident to every one of ordinary reflection, that education, in all its departments, has, of late years, received, and is every day receiving, an increased impetus; and that the system of instruction universally prevalent twenty years since differs as much from that now-a-days adopted in good schools, as travelling by stage-coach differs from travelling by steam, not in speed merely considered as the means to an end, but the many important advantages thereby secured, which is the end itself. It must also be evident that, to meet the want created by this difference in the system of instruction, books must be supplied adapted to such a state of things; and many are the instances in which Teachers, and these very often the best, are compelled, from want of good text-books, to trust to their own resources, and introduce their Pupils to an irregular course, in travelling over which, method and system are necessarily set at defiance; and, with many other disadvantages, the memory of the Teacher failing, numerous points of the most vital importance connected with his subject are left wholly untouched. To supply a good text-book for schools and private students, a practical Grammar of the English language, a book which, whilst it affords food to the student seeking after knowledge, by attempting throughout to lead him from the consideration of names to things, shall be as remote from purely theoretical dissertations on the one hand, as from the oldfashioned books on Grammar, suited to a bye-gone age, on the other, is the purpose of the following treatise. How far this purpose has been effected, it is for others, not the writer, to determine. The Work itself, however, is the result of many years' teaching, and close observation and study of the principles of the English language; and this will serve as a shield against the imputation of presumption, which might, otherwise, attach to the writing on such a subject in a day when the names of English Grammars are legion.
The suggestive plan has been adopted in the prosecution of the aforesaid purpose; no book, no teacher can fully discuss every particular of the subject treated of; but, if the learner has laid before him, in some instances, necessary information, and if, in others, he is led, by example, to prosecute his researches somewhat beyond the surface, the habit of enquiring will grow upon him, as it were, intuitively,
“Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem
and his intellect will acquire a vigour not possibly attained to under a system which leans for support on the machinery of rules, and for education substitutes cramming.
A Book of Milton's Paradise Lost is appended to the Work, and analysed as copiously as the limits of a book already swelled beyond the dimensions at first prescribed to it would admit of. Milton, as a book difficult of analysis, ranks with Terence, Juvenal, and such books; and the Student who has thoroughly mastered the analysis of one Book thereof, is in possession of a power which will serve as a key to the understanding of the whole; and, if so, by consequence, the understanding of every book in the English language.
Than the cultivation of this language it is impossible to conceive any department of study more important to all those who speak it as the vernacular. The importance of the cultivation thereof is well stated by the first of German philologists, who says of the English language, that it has the fullest right to be considered as a universal, a world language, that it is evidently destined by Providence to prevail over the remotest quarters of the globe; and that for copiousness, for logic, and for conciseness of expression, there is no living language, not even his own, which can be justly placed by its side.
To aid in the advancement of a cultivation of a language admitted, even by foreigners, to be so excellent, is no mean aspiration—is certainly a noble object. Should this object be, in the remotest degree, promoted by the following Treatise, the purpose thereof will be abundantly served; if not, the Writer will console himself with the